The giant annual Las Vegas trade show for automotive aftermarket companies is telling exhibitors to stop expanding so much.
Corky Coker, chairman of the Specialty Equipment Market Association, says bubbling international interest in the U.S. aftermarket is creating an unexpected problem: SEMA is hitting the wall on convention space.
The organization fears it is in danger of outgrowing its home at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the largest convention facility in the country.
SEMA's board decided in June to notify its 5,727 member companies that they will be limited to a 10 percent increase in booth size this year, Coker says.
Dozens of member companies that have not exhibited in recent years will be limited to 400 square feet if they return.
"We want everybody to be able to grow their business, but we're worried that we're about to run out of space," Coker says.
"We're not sure what the solution is. Some people are already complaining that we've gotten too big."
Last year 105,000 people attended the show, up by more than 9,000 from a year earlier.
Coker believes a number of factors are responsible:
The show has grown from 770,000 square feet of exhibition space to almost 1.1 million square feet in the past two years, according to Tradeshow Week, a publication that tracks convention trends. The journal says SEMA has grown from the nation's 12th-largest convention in 2002 to the fourth-largest now.